"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

My letter to Santa Claus Featured

 

Dear Santa, 

I have heard that you are a kind soul who listens to the people and tries to make their dreams come true by bringing them gifts on every Christmas.

I am writing you for the very first time and I hope you won’t disappoint me.

Fortunately, I am going to make your job a bit easier. I am not asking for material gifts, so you don’t have to worry about making anything for me. All I ask is for you to write a letter to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi,  and CC it to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on my behalf, requesting him to show some compassion for the people of Kashmir who continue to face lockdown since August 5, 2019. Alternatively, you can just copy and paste the content of my letter and forward it to him to save your time, as you must be busy responding to thousands of letters around this time of the year.

Kashmir is a disputed region where people have been fighting for the right to self-determination. The Indian forces continue to suppress their struggle, with a heavy deployment of troops. But ever since August 5, Indian-occupied Kashmir has been turned into an open jail. More than 5,000 people are under arrest, while civil liberties have been suspended. In the name of national security, the Indian state has scrapped the special status given to Kashmir, and disintegrated the state into two territories without any consultation with local leadership. This is done to humiliate the minority Muslim community, as Kashmir is the only Muslim dominated province in predominantly Hindu India. This reflects very poorly on a country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy.  

Even otherwise, attacks on religious minorities, including Christians, have grown in India ever since Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014. He is the leader of a right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party which is bent upon turning India into a Hindu theocracy, where the rights of all minorities will be reduced. On the auspicious occasion of Christmas, it is important to remind that Christians are finding it difficult to practice their faith under these circumstances. They are the target of constant attacks in different parts of India at the hands of Hindu extremists.   

So just write to Modi, and tell him to be compassionate, and lift the blockade of Kashmir, restore all the rights that have been suspended without further delay. During the holiday season, urge him to give up hate and start to embrace everyone. I am sure that a bigot like him won’t listen to you, but if you choose to write a letter to him it will give moral support to the people of Kashmir and other minorities in India. And please don’t forget to CC it to Trudeau, who has failed to address this issue despite many protests across Canada. Please remind Trudeau that since Canada claims to be a human rights leader in the world, it has an obligation to raise its voice against injustice anywhere on the globe. Maybe you can also remind him that this year marks the birth centenary of his father, the late Prime Minister who had the courage to stand up for Cuba and look into the eyes of US. He should follow in his father's footsteps if he really cares for his legacy, and tell Modi to do the right thing. 

Looking forward to your reply.

Gurpreet Singh  

Delta, BC 

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